Receiving and Preaching Christ Jesus

After encountering Christ in his exploration of Gospel Truth, George Fox urged Friends not only to receive the love and power of Jesus within themselves but promulgate the power of God to all people. This is why early Friends insisted that their adherents leave the so-called churches of their time, to wait on the Lord together for the need to listen to the Lord as individuals as well as a community.

Friends of Fox's generation urged their fellow believers, after they began to understand that Jesus functions as our heavenly prophet, as our loving shepherd, as our King who extricates the evil within, and as our true foundation, to share this everlasting gospel with their fellow citizens. But before Fox encouraged them to proclaim the message, these Friends needed to hear Jesus clearly and not be influenced by the hireling preachers of their era. In other words, potential ministers needed to be replete with Christ's mercy, Christ's peace, Christ's caring, before these members of Jesus's body attempted the true ministry in the power of the Lord.

Fox became somewhat disappointed with some Friends for not sharing the Gospel with the world's people, after the British enacted the Toleration Act of 1689. Let us remember with the passage of the law, many Quakers who were imprisoned for embracing the Body of Christ were given their legal freedom. Yet Fox became somewhat grieved that some Friends in Truth neglected to enunciate the need to silence themselves before the Lord and proclaim the power of our Lord's love for all people. Many of Fox's later epistles speak of his sadness . . . small wonder Friends began losing adherents as a result of their reluctance to share Jesus's ministry with the people who had not heard the voice of our Savior in their midst.

Because of this neglect of the everlasting gospel, people of our time have not experienced Christ in their lives. Rather Christians and others have just listened to pastors and educators intellectualize about Jesus's alleged philosophy. Of course these debates cannot and do not produce bountiful results. Instead these discourses confuse seekers who desire to become part of God's Kingdom.

To correct this dismal situation, some wish to promulgate the Gospel of early Friends before they really know Jesus and are able listen and obey him in all matters of Truth. This can encourage people to focus on concepts rather than the Lord Himself. That is why we need to live in Jesus's mercy, in Jesus's Friendship, in Jesus's compassion before we strive to reach others in Christ. To put it succinctly, we need to be examples of Christ before we share His godliness with seekers of Truth.

Likewise we need to worship with other members of Jesus's body to share visions and concerns of our Lord. In this endeavor we become helpmates to each other in addition to clarifying our revelations.

Then, we will be called to preach the everlasting Gospel - the Gospel George Fox so expertly enunciated. We will be prepared to answer questions of truly seeking people, questions about the oneness of Christ, questions about our refusal to bear arms, questions about our need to be gathered and last but not least questions about our concern to preach the everlasting love of our living Lord.

Yes, we need to receive and eventually to preach the gospel to all people. That is our ultimate goal. God will send us when we are prepared to follow Him wherever He leads us.

Arthur Berk

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